Boldly horizontal, Kawaiahao Plaza's alternating bands of tinted glass and dark, pre-cast concrete command attention. Set back behind a lawn, the four-story office building presents an inviting frontal sequence with its angular, L-shaped footprint placed at a diagonal to S. King Street. More than half of the 114,000-square-foot lot is devoted to open space, with the hardscape between the building and its parking structure forming an intimate square which reinforces the cohesiveness of the whole. The rear six-story office/parking structure furthers the design agenda with its compelling parallel lines running along South Street.
James Tsugawa (1930–2006) graduated from Hilo High School and received his degree in architecture from the University of Oregon. After working in California for five years, he returned to Hawaii and opened his own office in 1965.